Marcus Vere - Can you recall the funniest Living In A Box moment?
We had so many funny moments it’s difficult to answer this one but there was one event that springs to mind. We’d been booked for the Capital Radio Junior Best Disco at the Hammersmith Palais. It was to be broadcast live on radio while we performed Living In A Box in front of a live, teeny bopper audience. We sauntered on stage to tumultuous applause but before we could get to our instruments some knob started the backing track which, although everyone mimed at these kinds of gigs, made us look daft. Tich rushed to his kit in attempt to look vaguely pro. Suddenly the audiences welcoming cheers turned to raucous, hysterical laughter and all I could remember thinking was, “what’s so bloody funny?”, until I turned round to see Tich desperately hanging on to bits of disintegrated kit from around the stage as his bass drum fell off the riser. The stage crew hadn’t secured the kit properly. Bravely carrying on, as the guitar solo approached, Richard rushed to the front of the stage to do his Hendrix bit. He didn’t see the ice cream that had been lobbed onto the stage by some snot-nosed kid and stepped right on it and careered across the stage, disappearing head first into the crowd. By now I was in fits but I’ve got to hand it to Richard, he finished the entire solo on his back with tears of laughter flooding down his cheeks. There was nothing we could do.
We were resigned to a very public fiasco. It was early on in our career and that taught us never to take ourselves too seriously. You could say that our performance that day owed more to Norman Wisdom than to 80’s rock gods.Extreme Fly Fishing? What the heck’s that? Fishing off the north face of the Eiger?
Fly fishing used to be a bit of an old codgers sport but with the advances in fly rod technology you can fish for some pretty mighty and interesting fish nowadays. People are even fishing for Marlin on the fly. I love going out fishing with my son, JJ. It’s something we can do together and more or less compete on an even keel. Plus, it involves the great outdoors and the real world not Facebook, SnapChat and mobile phones!
The picture above is of a Giant Trevally caught in Mauritius, although that one is a baby. The coral and volcanic rocks there are so sharp, you have to wear a chain mail suit because if the sea breaks over you and knocks you down, you get cut to pieces. Pretty extreme!... and more fun than sitting by the River Don in Sheffield watching a float bob on the water for 10 hours.What was it like playing Wembley Arena with Living In A Box after all this time?
Before we even started the band I’d had a premonition that I would play Wembley one day. I guess a lot of kids have this as it’s part of the motivation to get a band together and get your music out there. When the band broke up in 1991, we’d achieved a lot in a relatively short space of time but playing Wembley wasn’t one of them. Maybe I’d had a dream instead of a premonition. The ‘Box’ era, after all, was the video age and touring wasn’t high on our list of priorities. Cut to 13 years later and we get a call to do the Here and Now Tour. Wembley Arena was one of the dates. Although we were reluctant to join a tour with Bucks Fizz (!) the lure of playing together and fulfilling a dream was too strong. We had an absolute blast, the audiences gave us a really fabulous reception and I wouldn’t hesitate in doing it again if asked. Can you tell us why you started your children’s DVD company Little Big TV?
When my little boy JJ was about two, he started becoming obsessed with tractors diggers and fire engines. My wife, who is half American, had just been visiting family in the U.S. and saw that a crappy video over there, of a locked-off camera on a building site, had become a No. 1 bestseller.
We persuaded a friend of ours who was a film camera man, to help us film some big machines. We phoned up John Deere Inc, one of the biggest manufacturers of farm machinery in the world, and asked them if we could film their kit. Unbelievably, they said, ‘Yes’. Had they asked, “Have you done this before?” we probably wouldn’t have even got off first base. Since then though we have made more programmes, with yet more in the pipeline. I write the music for the shows which I find really rewarding, and it’s certainly a refreshing change from the music industry.
The best news though, is that after several industry awards and over 50,000 sales off our own bat, we now have a distributor - so look out for Here Comes A... Tractor!, Here Comes A... Digger!, Here Comes A... Fire Engine! in a store near you!